View from the House: I will support People’s Vote if deal fails

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 December 2018


The prime minister has published her draft withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

It proposes terms for the UK to leave the EU on March 29 next year.

A very short document sketches out the proposed future relationship. As a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Exiting the European Union, I have followed developments for the past two years.

In the referendum in 2016, I campaigned to stay in the EU. In Newham, a majority voted to remain. However, many voters told me during the campaign that they wanted to leave. I understand the reasons why. I have strong criticisms myself of the way the EU works. But I supported staying in, because the economic damage of leaving would be too great. Too many of my constituents’ jobs would be lost. If Britain adopted the agreement negotiated by Theresa May, the damage would be less than leaving without a deal. But it would still be serious. Financial services providers in the UK would have a very precarious relationship with regulators in the EU. It would require us to implement rules over which we had no say. I will not vote for it.

Ministers’ promises to secure “frictionless trade” have not been kept. Many of us could see from the start that they were undeliverable. Why didn’t ministers realise? The agreement makes little mention of workers’ rights, consumer protection or the environment.

If parliament rejects Theresa May’s agreement, I will support a vote of no confidence in the government. If this does not lead to a general election, I would support a “People’s Vote”, between leaving the EU on terms proposed or staying in.

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